acm-header
Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Contributed articles

How Colors in Business Dashboards Affect Users' Decision Making


How Colors in Business Dashboards Affect Users' Decision Making, illustration

Credit: Shutterstock.com

Business dashboards help users visually identify trends, patterns, and anomalies in order to make effective decisions.1 Dashboards often use a variety of colors to differentiate and identify objects.2 Although using colors might improve visualization, overuse or misuse can distract users and adversely affect decision making. This article tests this effect with the help of eye-tracking technology.

Back to Top

Key Insights

ins01.gif

The bar charts in Figure 1 reflect sales of office-supply products. The bars in the left-hand chart are uniform in color, and the relative height is the only salient information source. However, the chart on the right uses a different color for each bar, and the variation in both height and color could be perceived as different information. As a general principle, color variation should reflect value variation.9 Use of colors can needlessly attract viewers' attention, causing them to search for meaning that is not there.3


 

No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.
  

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.